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Marshaun Butler
Vice President, Children's Mercy Kansas City, Outreach & Regional Practices
Centurions Class of 2006

Centurions Leadership Celebrating 40 Years: Marshaun Butler

In 1976, the KC Chamber launched a new program designed to prepare Kansas City’s leaders of tomorrow. They called it the Centurions Leadership program. Throughout 2017, in honor of the Centurions 40th Anniversary, we’ll be sharing some of the stories of Centurions alumni.

Marshaun ButlerWhere were you in your career when you went through the Centurions program?
I was in mid-level management, serving as the Director of Strategic Planning for Children’s Mercy Hospital. I am currently the Vice President for Children’s Mercy Hospital Kansas, Outreach and Regional Practices.
Tell us about the strongest connection you made from the program (personal or professional).
The strongest connection that I have made from the program is with my dear friend Elizabeth Rowe. Liz is serious, but with humor and grace. She and I connected early and both participated in leadership with the Centurions program. She has even been my travel partner abroad to China (with the Kansas City Chamber). We are connected by our professional drive to achieve and personal commitments to service. We also share one of life’s toughest challenges –caring for a loved one with dementia, as both of our mothers currently have this disease. From a distance, we support each other and have shared many laughs and tears.  
Professionally – my strongest connection has been in general with the overall network of professionals that represent a wide scope of talents and skill sets. Because we share a similar connection through Centurions –you always have someone to be a resource.
What would you say to companies that have never participated in Centurions about the program?
I would say the benefit of the program is tremendous:
  • Networking
  • Cultivating personal and professional sustainable relationships
  • Marketing for your service/brand
  • Leadership development – participants learn/build confidence through interactions with a diverse group of professionals representing all sectors and levels of management
  • Inside pulse – participants get exposure to the “real” issues in the city an are provided an opportunity to provide input on how to leverage personal and professional resources of their respective companies
  • Seat at the table – participants get a seat at the table to make recommendations, provide input and influence to decisions that may directly and indirectly affect one’s companies operations.
What is your fondest memory during your time as a Centurion?
My fondest memory was the first year retreat. This was my most memorable activity as it was the first day that we came together to get know one another and set the course for the year. It was memorable because it was full of fun and mischief, but also meaningful as this activity launched the 2006 “think tank” in how we were try to address the community’s challenges.  
Another fond memory was when my group dressed up as Tina and Ike Turner as part of our task force presentation!
What committees or task forces did you serve on while in the program?
Missouri River Task force
How did Centurions make you a better leader?
The knowledge gained, professional connections established and exposure to role models (both good and bad) influenced me to develop my personal leadership style, explore and identify causes of which I have a passion, increase confidence in my abilities and provided the spark for me to become more active in making a difference in our community. 
The collective experience left me with a thirst to do more, lead more, and be more. The quote by the late Maya Angelou encapsulates my Centurions experience – “I think that is we have a responsibility – human beings, that is to say, then it may be that we are responsible for the time we take up and the space we occupy.” The Centurions experience influenced me to occupy my space through leadership by service.
What did Centurions teach you about service and giving back to the community? Tell us about one of your most meaningful service experiences?
Centurions taught me that sometimes people need a hand up –and not always a hand out. My most meaningful experience was with Uplift, where we fed the homeless. We were able to talk with the homeless and gain insight into their ways of living. Most impactful was when a gentleman took us to his “home” –this is not traditionally done unless there is a certain level of trust. He showed us the housing that he built, where he slept, where he stored his food, etc. He gave us a small glimpse of his life and personal story. I will never forget that experience!
What advice would you give to current and future Centurions?
Treasure every experience, document your time and reflect on how you can be the change you want to see in addressing today’s challenges and remember to have Fun!
How has Kansas City changed since you were in Centurions?
Kansas City has changed in several ways since I was in Centurions:
  • Political climate has changed
  • Development of downtown – Power & Light District
  • Additional investments in the urban core
  • Advancements in public transportation – more routes for ATA, trolley cars
  • New discussion on the airports future
  • Heightened focus on diversity and inclusion in the workforce
  • Turnover in school district leadership 

Posted: 1/20/2017 8:48:19 AM